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Marianas Variety: The importance of agriculture in the islands (June 30, 2017)

AGRICULTURE education helps students learn valuable life skills through hands-on projects while developing an understanding of the importance of agriculture to our basic needs including food, clothes and healthcare.

Some educators interviewed by this writer have suggested that the integration of agriculture into the general curriculum would help students experience learning — and apply learning to real-life situation.

Agriculture will also help students develop respect for nutrition and the environment.

This year, the participants of Empty Vessel Ministry’s summer program for children experienced hands-on agriculture lessons at the As Perdido research farm of Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research, Extension and Educations Service.

NMC-CREES provides outreach education and conducts research through its two divisions: Agriculture Research & Extension, and Family and Consumer Sciences.

Both programs are dedicated to help improve the economic well-being, living conditions and overall quality of life in the CNMI, and their key stakeholders include farmers, families, youth, individuals, government agencies, and various ethnic communities.

For welcoming the summer program participants to the As Perdido farm, the Empty Vessel Ministry is grateful to NMC-CREES Dean Dr. Tim Kock and the faculty and staff: Arnold Route, Mark Flores, Bill Joseph, Ramon Dela Cruz, Solly Takai-Nakamura and Daniel Kaipat.

At the farm, the summer program participants experienced the five steps of planting and learned what vegetables can grow on island.

According to Solly Takai-Nakamura, the farm allows NMC-CREES to conduct research on new and innovative agricultural practices that can benefit the CNMI.

Through their research, she added, the community is informed about new crop varieties that show high productivity and resiliency.

The NMC-CREES farm also helps demonstrate best farming practices. Any school, non-profit organization, government or private entities can schedule a visit.

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